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Friday, November 27, 2020

Gujarat: Winter and festive season nearing, health experts warn of Covid spike

The coronavirus cases in Gujarat crossed the 1.80-lakh mark on Sunday with 1,020 fresh cases, a state health department report said. Seven deaths were also reported on the day.

Written by Ritu Sharma | Ahmedabad | Updated: November 9, 2020 12:03:32 pm
Gujarat Covid spike, Gujarat coronavirus cases, gujarat coronavirus latest updates, gujarat covid cases, ahmedabad covid cases, ahmedabad city newsProf Dileep Mavalankar said Gujarat should take a cue from the other northern states, like New Delhi, where the number of cases increased with the onset of winter. (Representational)

With the festive season and winter around the corner, health experts have raised concerns over a possible spike in Covid-19 cases in the state.

The coronavirus cases in Gujarat crossed the 1.80-lakh mark on Sunday with 1,020 fresh cases, a state health department report said. Seven deaths were also reported on the day.

Pointing at the uptick in the number of daily cases in Ahmedabad, Prof Dileep Mavalankar, the director of Indian Institute of Public Health (IIPH), Gandhinagar, said as in European nations, where a second wave of the disease has been witnessed, the number of cases in the state may rise too. On Sunday, Ahmedabad recorded 185 fresh Covid-19 cases up from 182 a day ago.

Dr Anish Chandarana, the vice-president of Ahmedabad Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association (AHNA), also hinted at a possible spike in cases in early December. “Several countries have already witnessed a spike about one-and-a-half to three months ahead of us. Seeing the trend, yes, a second spike (in Covid-19 cases) can be expected within one or two months. Also, it has been seen that the virus likes cold conditions, ranging between seven and 21 degrees Celsius. This can be a cause of concern as we may see a second spurt in cases at the beginning of December,” he said.

Prof Mavalankar said Gujarat should take a cue from the other northern states, like New Delhi, where the number of cases increased with the onset of winter. On Saturday, the national capital witnessed 6,953 fresh cases and 79 deaths.

Reduced cross-ventilation indoors during winter, Prof Mavalankar said, may also add to the number of cases. “During winter, when more people stay at home, there is reduced cross-ventilation indoors. Thus, transmission (of the virus) within the home is expected to increase. Further, with an increase in air pollution there are more chances of getting infected,” he said. Dryness of respiratory passage and a drop in vitamin D level during the season may also lead to the severity in the disease, he said.

The India Meteorological Department (IMD) has already seen a dip in minimum temperature. On Sunday, the lowest minimum was recorded at Valsad (14 degrees Celsius), followed by Naliya (14.9), Gandhinagar (15), Amreli (16.5), Keshod (16.6), and Ahmedabad (17.4).

Crowding and travelling during the upcoming festive and marriage seasons, too, remain a cause of concern. “Schools and colleges, too, are set to reopen… Once people start travelling or meeting outdoors, there will be an increase in the number of cases. This spike may not be too severe, but difficult to handle with the economy already in a bad shape, doctors already exhausted and drained,” Dr Mukesh Maheshwari, pathologist laboratory and medicine expert, said.

AHNA president Dr Bharat Gadhavi, however, said the “virulence of the virus has gone down. Mortality rate is going down and with increased awareness, more patients are coming for treatment early. These are some positive signs”.

While cautioning that cases may go up after Diwali and a second wave can be witnessed in the next 15-20 days, Dr Chandarana said, “The authorities will also have to factor in several points — there is less virulence, reduced panic among people, treatment protocols have been set and are followed, the mortality rate has reduced, and there is no crisis of beds so far.”

Further, experts say the peak is expected to be comparatively weaker than the one witnessed in May-June.

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